Charles Childers


blog | parable | retro | ios apps | fountain pens


Daily Carry, February 2016

Back in 2013 I mentioned that I like to occasionally review the items I carry on a daily basis. Since then the mix has changed to:

There's been some changes.

The bag is now a Travel Express, which is slimmer and much lighter than the Muzetto Outback. It also has a zipper closure, so remains solidly closed (which resolves the one real issue I had with the Muzetto: that flap was very annoying when it was flipping open in the wind while biking).

I've moved to an iPad Air 2. It's not that much heavier than the iPad Mini was, and the larger screen is wonderful to work with. With iOS 9's split screen multitasking and other improvements it's become very practical to use as my primary computer. (I now use the MacBook soley for iOS development tasks, since Xcode doesn't run on iOS.)

My phone is now an iPhone 6+. During the day I use it heavily for phone calls, email, and texts, in the evenings and mornings it's almost entirely media related: I watch TV and movies on it, and listen to podcasts and audio books.

I've gone through a couple of bluetooth headsets. Back in 2013 I was using a Sony device that worked with standard headphones. I laster switched to a cheap Plantronics headset, which I loved, and now to a Plantronics Voyager Edge. This has worse battery life, but much better microphones and audio quality. I'm pleased with this, though I still feel that bluetooth headsets haven't really improved enough.

I added a keyboard to the mix. After years of frequently switching keyboards I've settled on the Apple Magic Keyboard. It's bluetooth, charges with the same cable I use for the iPhone and iPad, and it's small and light enough not to be overly annoying in the bag. It also fixes the one issue I had with Apple's previous wireless keyboard: there's now a physical power switch, so it doesn't turn on in my bag.

The biggest new thing was the addition of a Pebble Time smartwatch. This has literally changed the way I go through my day for the better. When at work I can now quickly see who's calling me, review texts/emails, etc without constantly checking the phone or sitting at my computer. When I'm home I use it to skim incoming messages and control media playback. It's also become my alarm clock, waking me up silently so I don't disturb my wife, and I make extensive use of the silent timers when cooking. I don't really use any third-party apps on it, but the unobtrusive notifications and built in functionality have made it more than worth the investment to me.

What's remained the same? I still love Field Notes notebooks: small, light, durable enough. And my daily carry pen is still the Liliput. I sometimes carry the TWSBI Mini as well; it's also small enough to be unobtrusive in the bag, and the writing experience with it is great. The other stuff (insulin supplies, ID, etc) are all unchanged.

It's likely that there'll be some changes later this year. I'll be looking for a newer phone this summer/fall. I may go for a 6S to save a little size/weight, especially as it mostly lives in my pocket or bag now. I might also upgrade to a newer iPad later this year: I'm finally reaching a point where the 16gb limits of the base model are becoming a little annoying, and the rumored improvements that may come to the iPad Air 3 sound interesting. But we'll see. I'm very satisfied with my current setup and don't see an urgent need to change anything in the near future.